WFT’s Rivera on Heincke: ‘I think the biggest things he is doing is he is starting to see things’

The Washington Football(4-6) Team got their second straight impressive win on Sunday as they defeated the Carolina Panthers on the road 27-21.

Sunday’s game was all about the return of Cam Newton as the Panthers starting quarterback and the return of former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera to Carolina.

However, Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who played with the Panthers in 2018, stole the show as he completed 16-of-22 passes for 206 passing yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 141.3. He also rushed six times for 29 yards.

The game was personal for a lot of people, which Heinicke discussed post-game.

“I was only here for a year, so it didn’t mean that much, but there was a lot of players, staff, and one of our general managers came from there,” he said. “We knew it was big for them, and it was kind of personal, and to know that they were going to win with those last two kneels, that was nice.”

Last week, in a win over Tampa Bay, Heinicke was 26/32 for 256 yards. According to Rivera, Heinicke is seeing everything better.

“I think the biggest things he is doing is he is starting to see things,” he said. “He is starting to see what he needs to see. He is throwing the windows he needs to throw. We are getting healthy up front. Now, we have got a couple of nicked guys. We got to get those guys back on the football field, but I think that is all a part of it as well.”

Heinicke explained why he has played so well in the past two weeks.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of things, but me personally, I feel like I’ve played better by just going out there and having fun,” he said. “Being myself and letting the personality come out, and I think that rubs off on some of the guys. There’s guys out there fighting, and all 11 of those guys on every play are doing the right thing.

“We just have to keep the ball rolling. We have a big one on Monday against Seattle, and it’s going to be exciting.”

After losing four straight and being 2-6 heading into their bye week, Washington may have found their way, and Rivera sees a team that’s now playing together.

“Well, I think they are starting to play together,” Rivera said. “They are becoming resilient. They do the things that they need to. They rely on each other. The thing I am really pleased with is it is all starting up front on both sides of the ball. I think the offensive and defensive line is coming alive. Those guys are playing some very solid and sound football. Again, they are just doing the things they need to do to give us a chance.”

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who had five receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, added about the team’s turnaround: “I just think we have put two good weeks of practice together first and foremost. I feel like our o-line and our d-line are really establishing the line of scrimmage, which is very important. I feel like we are sustaining drives offensively. Defense is creating turnovers and short field. You’re creating winning formula.”

Notes:

-Washington won back-to-back games for the first time since winning four-straight games from Nov. 22nd to December 

=Running back Antonio Gibson finished with 95 yards on 19 carries.  This marks the first time Gibson ran for 90+ yards since rushing for 115 yards on November 26 of last season.13 of last season.

Giants’ place Peppers on IR with ACL injury, high ankle sprain

The Giants today placed safety Jabrill Peppers on injured reserve with two injuries to his right leg – a rupture to the ACL in his knee and a high ankle sprain, team announced on Tuesday.

He was hurt in the third quarter of the Giants’ 25-3 victory Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Peppers is the third of the Giants’ seven captains to suffer a season-ending injury. Offensive lineman Nick Gates suffered a fractured lower left leg at Washington on Sept. 16 and middle linebacker Blake Martinez tore his ACL 10 days later against Atlanta. Another captain, running back Saquon Barkley, has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle he sustained in Dallas on Oct. 10.

Peppers is a five-year veteran who is in his third season with the Giants. This season, he played in all six games with five starts and had 30 tackles (19 solo), including a three-yard sack of Sam Darnold on Sunday, two tackles for loss, four quarterback hits and one pass defensed.

The Peppers transaction was one of several the Giants made today. The team waived cornerback Josh Jackson and wide receiver David Sills. Another defensive back, J.R. Reed, terminated his practice squad contract with the Los Angeles Rams and will join the Giants’ active roster tomorrow. Defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton was terminated from the practice squad.

Reed entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020. He was waived at the end of training camp and signed four days later to the Rams’ practice squad. Reed was added to the active roster three times last season. The Rams released him on Oct. 2 and signed Reed to their practice squad on Oct. 5.

Reed’s father, Jake, played in the NFL for 12 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.

Jackson was obtained by the Giants on August 17 in a trade with Green Bay for fellow corner Isaac Yiadom. He suffered a calf injury and was inactive for all seven games this season.

Sills made his NFL debut on Sunday, one day after he was signed off the Giants’ practice squad. He was targeted once but did not catch a pass.

Sills spent the entire 2020 season on injured reserve after fracturing his foot in training camp. In the 2021 preseason, Sills had a team-high seven receptions, for 94 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown in Cleveland.

Jaguars’ sign WR Pharoh Cooper

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed former Pro Bowl and All-Pro WR Pharoh Cooper, the team announced on Thursday.

Cooper, 26, spent the 2020 season with the Carolina Panthers. Entering his sixth season, Cooper made his mark on special teams. He has 82 punt returns for 729 yards and 104 kickoff returns for 2,523 yards and one TD. Cooper was a Pro-Bowler with the Rams in 2017.

The Los Angeles Rams originally drafted Cooper in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.

In another move, Jacksonville placed WR Terry Godwin on the injured reserve list.

Report: Panthers to release Cam Newton

The Cam Newton era is over in Carolina. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Carolina Panthers are expected to release Newton today.

Last week, the Panthers permitted Newton to explore trade options. The 30-year-old Newton played in only two games last season due to a foot injury. 

The quarterback room is going to look very different in Carolina next season. The Panthers signed QB Teddy Bridgewater last week and are expected to sign XFL star QB P.J. Walker, who was coached by Panthers head coach Matt Rhule in college. Also, the team is expected to trade QB Kyle Allen to the Redskins.

It should be interesting to see where Newton will land in 2020. The 10-year veteran is still young and still can be a very good quarterback in the NFL, and with the way things went in Carolina, he is going to be very hungry to prove the doubters wrong.